To cheat or not to cheat… that is the question…


Hey Guys and Girlies,

Firstly thanks to the whopping 90 of you that read my first blog post and thank you to all of you who gave me positive feedback ­čÖé

Every weekend I notice that my Twitter timeline gets filled up with people talking about what cheat meals they are having and what they have been looking forward to all week. It really varies, with some of you choosing to use your cheat on alcohol for a night out, some of you indulge in takeaways or meals in restaurants, some take the opportunity to satisfy your sweet tooth and others are more restricted and choose to have a clean treat, perhaps trying out clean protein cookies or muffins or having extra carbs with your meals.

The idea around a cheat meal is to allow people on restricted diets to have something they crave so that they can carry on the next week dieting without giving into cravings and binge eating every bad item of food in sight. Science has also proven that cheat meals can be good for boosting the metabolism and to keep the body guessing so that we don’t plateau with weight loss.

Personally for me I have a few problems with cheat meals:

Firstly I don’t like the fact they are called “cheats”. To me this makes me feel guilty straight away. Any normal person who cheats on their partner, cheats on an exam or even cheats at Monopoly will feel guilty. It’s the same with cheating on your diet, it often leads me to feel guilty. I sometimes feel that I have ruined a week of hard training and dieting and “cheated” myself. It leaves me feeling naughty and demotivated. For this reason I have now chosen to call my cheats “treats” and therefore I have less reason to feel guilty because I feel that treats are a good reward for hard work! I know a lot of you believe in the saying ” Do not reward yourself with food, you are not a dog!” But in my opinion I do feel there is space for some treats if you have worked hard all week. Bodybuilding is not only a lifestyle for me it is a passion and a hobby and the moment it stops being this is the time I will lose motivation to carry on. There are obviously times such as pre competitions where you need to become stricter, but for me a weekly treat can sometimes keep me going.

The main reason for cheats is to help satisfy cravings whilst on a restricted diet. Although I can see eating chicken, rice and┬ábroccoli┬ácan get boring, I honestly never feel that I am on a diet. I feel that eating clean is a lifestyle for me and I use a mixture of methods to keep my diet varied to stop me becoming bored. I use a lot of herbs and spices and enjoy to cook new clean recipes which are easily found online.┬áSimilar to many other women, my weakness is my sweet tooth. Before I became interested in Bodybuilding, I swear there wasn’t a day that went past where I didn’t have chocolate and I would become moody and irritable without it! But now the longer I eat clean the less cravings I have. The problem I have with a cheat is that sometimes it ends up making me crave sweets and chocolate more than if I didn’t have them in the first place!

Nowadays I allow myself to have a treat meal once a week with Mr. Needy. For me it gives me something to look forward to in the week and helps to keep me on track. I feel that treats are a great way to spend time with friends and family too. Sometimes if your friends and family aren’t into Bodybuilding they can find it weird how we all prepare our meals and take them around with us and eat in such a restricted way. I am lucky that I have supporting friends and family, however I do think it can help relationships if you can still have meals out together and are not totally restricted.

When I first started lifting weights and eating clean, my motivation levels were sky high and I wanted to give my all and see maximum results. I did not cheat at all for about 20 weeks and I must admit I did find this relatively easy at the time. When I reached a plateau and stopped losing weight someone mentioned to me that my calorie intake may be too low and that a cheat meal could boost my metabolism. At this point I started to allow myself a cheat meal once a week but it left me feeling sluggish and would sometimes turn into binges that lasted for days. I know I should have been more controlled but I felt like an all or nothing kind of girl and it wasn’t working for me.

My cheats nowadays consist of a small meal usually in a restaurant. Last week I had a side order of vegetable balti and a few of Mr. Needy’s fries. This is enough to leave me feeling satisfied but never guilty. Before, a cheat meal would have looked like a starter, a curry with a naan and a dessert. I would leave feeling stuffed and like I never wanted a cheat meal again, also definitely destroying any calorie deficit I had made that week! I tend to stay away from sweet things still as this is my true weakness!

So my questions for you are:

Do you agree with cheat meals? If you do, how often do you have them and do you ever have cheat days?

Do you keep your cheats clean?

Do you have a cheat meal even if you don’t fancy one?

What’s your fave cheat?

Those of you who compete, do you cheat even in your pre contest diet?

Do your cheats differ when you are building muscle/losing fat?

Thanks for reading ­čÖé Love to hear your feedback xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Here are some links that I found interesting on cheat meals…

Alex believes there is no real need for cheats as such, if you have a flexible diet approach and can keep your meals varied you can often include the things you want into your diet (within reason!).

These guys use cheat days to have extra carbs in order to refuel. It stimulates the thyroid and increases fat burning and also allows them to fuel their workouts better for the next few days. They believe cheat meals give a mental break from dieting and they are  like a reward. Also interesting is that they feel that if you do end up feeling guilty about a cheat then you work out harder in the gym to compensate for it.

This guy believes you should only have cheat meals once you are at your goal weight, otherwise it could slow down the process of getting to where you want to be.

Few more…